A MOTORING journalist has foiled three criminals who stole a brand new Audi to use it in a house robbery.
Louth based Phil O’Kelly, a journalist with the Irish Daily Star newspaper, who lives in Annagassan, tracked down a gang of thugs who attempted to break into his home on Wednesday morning.
Speaking to the Democrat: “I was leaving my house on Wednesday morning, test driving a Jaguar XJ. And I spotted a brand new black Audi going by.”
Phil thought nothing of it and drove off on an errand, but had left his gates open as he was expecting an oil delivery.
“Thankfully, the local postman had also seen the Audi, an unusal sight in the back roads around Castlebellingham. He saw the car parked up the road from my house, and went and got a neighbour to investigate.”
The postman and neighbour then approached the house, and saw a man coming around the back, before jumping through a hedge into the parked Audi.
“When I returned and found out what had happened, I decided that I would go towards Dundalk to have a look for the car. I had a hunch that the criminals would hide the car in plain sight.”
Phil used Twitter to alert people as to the number plate of the Audi in question.
“I drove to Dundalk and parked in the Longwalk Shopping Centre car park and nearly immediately clocked the Audi.”
Phil stayed in view of car and called the Gardaí and a Garda detective on his way to work met Phil in carpark.
He was told that the the occupants of the Audi were suspected of being involved in several break-ins in Blackrock that morning.
“The Gardaí then took over the car and I went for a walk around the town to see if I could spot the suspects.”
When Phil returned to the carpark the Audi drove up to him, and he attempted to stall it, in bid to give the Gardaí more time to move.
“I got back into the Jaguar and was about to follow them, getting behind the Audi, when an unmarked Garda Opel Vectra car came down the lane, blocking them in.”
The driver of the car attempted to make a getaway, but was soon tracked down and arrested. Phil tweeted the picture to his followers, who had been retweeting his messages to thousands of people.
“Basically a car worth €35,000 was returned to its owners in Dublin as a result. I suppose it was blind luck that I happened upon the Audi in Dundalk. But the most credit in this must go to Fintan, the postman, who went beyond the call of duty to check out the house, once he suspected that it was about to be broken into.
“It was just good old fashioned neighbourliness on his part. He could have ignored it and went about his business. He was the real hero in all this,” concluded Phil.
It seems that these criminals decided to pick on the wrong house and the wrong tweeter. Phil’s final Twitter words on the matter were simply: “I love it when a plan comes together!”